Avocados and Other Trendy Foods No One Would Touch 15 Years Ago

Certain food items’ popularity has skyrocketed in the last 15 years. Take, for example, the avocado. Avocados practically have a cult following. Continue reading to find out which foods have become extremely popular in the last 15 years.


Sliced avocado

Americans can’t stop eating avocados. | MSPhotographic/iStock/Getty Images

The creamiest of fruits (yes, fruits) has taken the world by storm. Avocados have become so popular, billions are sold annually, The Washington Post says. The math works out to “nearly four times as many sold in 2000.” Loosened import restrictions is one of the main reasons for avocados heightened popularity. Avocados come from California and Mexico, keeping a steady supply of avocados on American grocery store shelves year-round.

Hint: This dip is available in tons of different flavors.


Carrots and hummus make a delicious and healthy snack. | Robyn Mac/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Hummus hails from the Middle East and is made of chickpeas. The creamy dip takes America by storm in every grocery store and restaurant. “American farmers have quadrupled their production of chickpeas,” according to the Today show. Popularity has grown so much that the council estimates 25% of American homes have hummus.

Hint: This creamy sensation has taken over the dairy aisle.

Greek yogurt

blue ramekin filled with Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is a billion-dollar industry. | iStock

Greek yogurt is a $1.5 billion industry, according to The Atlantic. The greek yogurt brand, Chobani, sells 50% of the yogurt on the market today. There’s no arguing the popularity of greek yogurt but it’s unclear who made it so. Some analysts credit working women for the rise of greek yogurt, while others credit “rich old women in affluent coastal cities,” The Atlantic says.

Hint: Americans eat 7.5 pounds of this food annually.

Sweet potatoes

Raw sweet potatoes

Americans eat more than seven pounds of sweet potatoes a year. | zeleno/iStock/Getty Images

“Sweet potatoes have become more popular in the U.S. in recent years with consumption increasing nearly 80% between 2000 and 2014,” according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. The average American eats 7.5 pounds of sweet potatoes a year. Fad diets have made sweet potatoes popular, according to NPR’s “The Salt.” Not to mention the health benefits of sweet potatoes make them a no-brainer at the grocery store. Sweet potatoes have “400% [percent] of your daily value of Vitamin A to boost your eye health and immunity,” according to SELF magazine.

Hint: We used to hate this vegetable, now we can’t get enough.

Brussels sprouts

Uncooked brussels

Health benefits are making this once unpopular vegetable a kitchen staple. | iStock.com/GwylanAnna

“Shoppers also want something easy and nutritious,” Diana McClean, marketing director for Ocean Mist Farms, told the Press Herald. “You now can buy (pre-packaged) Brussels sprouts and have fresh vegetables on your plate in minutes,” McClean added. “Brussels sprouts are gaining popularity because of their great health benefits,” according to the Produce Market Guide. The health benefits include being full of vitamin A, protein, potassium, and other nutrients, How Stuff Works says.

Hint: 17 million recipes are available using this spice.


turmedic powder in a spoon

The anti-inflammatory powers of this spice make it popular. | iStock.com/eskaylim

This orange spice is found in grocery stores nationwide, flying off shelves mainly because of the anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric has been growing in popularity since the early 2000s, according to fivethirtyeight.com. With 17 million recipe results on Google, there’s a recipe for everyone to enjoy turmeric.

Hint: A talk show host makes this oil popular.

Coconut oil

Dr. Oz helped launch coconut oil in the United States. | Rodrigo Bark/iStock/Getty Images

Since Dr. Oz, a well-known figure in the health community, has been recommending coconut oil, demand has increased. “I call it the ‘Doctor Oz’ effect,” Donald Palmquist, a Whole Foods employee, told USA Today. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, most health professionals say is best in moderation. “As a saturated fat, it’s probably better than others,” Ashley Simmons, a cardiologist and medical director of the women’s heart program at the University of Kansas Hospital, told The Washington Post. “But it’s still a high-calorie, highly-saturated fat,” she added.

Hint: Fad diets contribute to the success of this squash.

Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash on a wooden background

Fad diets helped popularize spaghetti squash. | iStock.com/DipaliS

“Spaghetti squash’s popularity spiked during the low-carb diet craze,” Dana Angelo White, M.S., R.D., A.T.C., wrote in a FoodNetwork.com article. Spaghetti squash is another example of a food gaining popularity through fad diets. The fad diets were onto something with spaghetti squash. The winter squash contains essential vitamins and minerals, according to the SF Gate.

Hint: This milk alternative has dairy farmers worried.

Nut milks

almond milk and almond seeds

Many people drink nut milks, like almond milk. | kiboka/iStock/Getty Images

Nearly half of Americans drink non-dairy milk, according to Mintel research. The most popular non-dairy milk is almond milk, Forbes says. Dairy milk is moo-ving out of the spotlight, with nut milks taking center stage. Remember the “Got Milk” campaigns of the 1990s? Today, the campaign slogan would read “Got Nut Milk.”

Hint: A colorful variation of this vegetable is taking over.

Purple and orange cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

Orange and purple cauliflower are full of vitamins. | iStock.com/anakopa

“Colored cauliflower started popping up at farmers markets about ten years ago,” Kelli Foster, of the Kitchn writes. Aside from adding color to a dish, there are health benefits to colored cauliflower. “Orange cauliflower contains 25% more vitamin A than white cauliflower,” Foster added. One site is deeming purple cauliflower a superfood.

Hint: Want your family to eat more greens? Start a pop culture phenomenon.



Pop culture phenomenon, kale. | iStock.com/ginew

The green that inspires us to wear t-shirts emblazoned with the name. PR professional, Oberon Sinclair is behind the kale pop culture phenomenon, Spoon University says. Sinclair likes kale and wants everyone to like kale too. Mission accomplished. “kale sales have jumped by more than 30 percent annually over the past few years,” Ryan Flaim, a kale farmer told CBS News.

Hint: This hard-to-pronounce grain is in kitchens everywhere.


quinoa and other grains

Quinoa is easy and fast to cook.| iStock.com/VeselovaElena

There are three reasons why quinoa is popular, according to Kristen Aiken, Huffington Post Taste Executive Editor. Quinoa is gluten-free, a superfood, and a perfect protein. Another reason the grain is popular is its cook time. “Quinoa, which takes just 15 to 20 minutes to cook, fits in with people’s busy lifestyle,” Cynthia Harriman, Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies at the Whole Grains Council, told Eating Well.

Hint: Stay fuller, longer with this.

Protein supplements

Protein powders are a relatively new trend. | iStock

I’m among those who are fully immersed in the protein powder trend. I eat protein pancakes on a regular basis and add protein powder to smoothies without even batting an eye. “In recent years, the rise of Paleo, Atkins, the Zone and other low-carb diets have helped sustain protein’s MVP status,” The Washington Post says. Because protein’s benefits are easy to understand, protein could be a trend that’s here to stay.

Hint: Cheese without dairy is sweeping the nation.

Vegan cheese

Say goodbye to dairy cheese and munch on vegan cheese. | Mariamarmar/iStock/Getty Images

General Mills is spending millions on vegan cheese products, according to Well + Good. As bigger companies invest in vegan cheese, its popularity continues to grow. For those who have issues with dairy, vegan cheese is a good option. “They don’t have a lactose intolerance per se, but they find cow’s milk cheeses harder to digest,” she says. “They tell me they feel so much better if they eat a nut cheese instead.”Michaela Grob, owner of vegan cheese shop, Riverdel,  told Well + Good.

Hint: Food allergy sufferers aren’t the only ones enjoying these foods.

Food allergy specific items

Woman on gluten free diet

More and more people are saying no to gluten.| lolostock

With food allergies more prevalent than ever before, food allergy specific items are readily available in grocery stores. However, gluten-free is the most popular. “It is now the most popular diet in Hollywood,” Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, told CNN. It’s important to note that cutting out a specific food, i.e. gluten or dairy, is most beneficial to those with allergies. For those without an allergy, nixing gluten or dairy may not have any health benefits.

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